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Insider TA: Data Merger Basics

The Data Merger functionality dates back over 15 years to the earliest version of Insider TA. Considered a great feature back then, its value has steadily diminished over the years, particularly in light of the wonderful ASCII downloaders that perform the same functions and more! We have marked the Data Merger as a legacy utility, and it will likely be retired in a future version of Insider TA. You will find the Data Merger utility in Insider TA v7's "Legacy" menu option in the main toolbar.

The Data Merger utility provides Insider TA the ability to automatically update your entire portfolio of ASCII stock files with new data, either on a weekly or daily basis. The examples that follow illustrate updating daily files.

You will need to download from your favorite source a listing of end-of-day price information (Date, Open, High, Low, Volume, etc.) for your portfolio of stocks. Such listings are text-based files that we refer to as recap files, because they provide a recap of your portfolio's trading data.

The following figure illustrates how the Data Merger takes the data from a generic recap file, and updates each of your stock files:

Note in the above figure how the destination files do not necessarily have to follow a specific field order. In our illustration shown above:

  • The first is comma-delimited and has TICKER, FREQ, DATE, HIGH, LOW, LAST, and VOLUME on each line.
  • The second is comma-delimited and has DATE, HIGH, LOW, and VOLUME on each line.
  • The third is space-delimited and has HIGH, LOW, and VOLUME on each line.

We show these variations to illustrate how the Data Merger is not limited to working with any specific field order. In fact, each stock file in your portfolio can have its own unique configuration.

The Data Merger's Portfolio List

How does Insider TA know which stock file to append data to? That is the responsibility of the Data Merger's Portfolio List...

Portfolio List Window

Note in the above illustration how every stock symbol is associated with its own data file.

If a target datafile is not associated with a symbol, then Insider TA selects a filename with a "TXT" extension and saves it to its own "\ASCII" subdirectory. The above figure illustrates this..

This auto-naming convention is handy for those cases where you already have a long list of symbols, and you don't want to spend a lot of time manually entering filenames for each symbol. Simply append your list file to the PORTFLIO.LST file (using any text editor), and Insider TA will automatically create "TXT" files in its \ASCII directory.

The name of the recap file is not entered into the Portfolio List Window, but rather the field labeled "File(s) to Process" in the Data Merger Window.

Requirements of "Recap Files"

The structure of recap files must follow some basic guidelines. Insider TA's Data Merger requires the following:

  • Recap files must be ASCII (simple text) format.
  • All data for a given stock must be on the same line. At a minimum, the high and low price, volume and ticker symbol must be included. The order of data items can be in any format, but must be consistent for all data lines in the file
  • Price values can exist in decimal or fractional format. For example, $1.75 can be represented as "1-3/4" or "1 3/4". In the latter case, only a single space can separate the whole part from the fraction part of the price value.
  • The file does not necessarily have to consist exclusively of data lines. When supplied with the necessary information, INSIDER TA will know which lines contain data and which do not.

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